Parents who since 2018 have accused a Kaohsiung elementary-school teacher of abusing their children, who have additional education needs, are demanding that the authorities immediately remove the teacher from her job.
The parents voiced their anger and frustration at the situation at a news conference organized by the Humanitarian Education Foundation on Wednesday.
It was the fifth news conference that has been held since 2019 to demand that action be taken against the teacher, surnamed Chen (陳), who has been accused of verbally bullying students, using inappropriate disciplinary methods and forcing students to cheat during exams to inflate their grades, said Chang Ping (張萍), head of the foundation’s southern region office.
The teacher has also refused to hold individualized education program meetings, which are widely considered crucial for children with special needs, Chang said.
The foundation and the parents said that despite filing complaints since 2018, school officials had failed to launch an investigation.
Following its own probe, the Kaohsiung Education Bureau did give the teacher a demerit in 2020 after she had returned from an extended period of leave, but parents were unhappy with that course of action and many transferred their children to other schools.
Chang accused the school and the education bureau of failing to address the issue, questioning why they had allowed Chen to take a semester off at a time when numerous complaints had been filed against her.
Chen has tried to transfer to schools in rural areas of Kaohsiung and Hualien, but had been prevented from doing so after the foundation called news conferences to detail the accusations, Chang said.
The mother of one of the students, surnamed Wen (溫), said that her child was taught by Chen since third grade and had become more emotionally unstable ever since.
In addition, Wen accused the teacher of forcing students to cheat in their exams.
“This whole class of students with additional needs were suddenly getting amazingly high scores on their math exam and even their other teachers found the situation strange,” she said.
Another mother, surnamed Lai (賴), accused Chen of not even helping students in more extreme situations, citing the example of a student who was covered in feces in a bathroom and another who fell from their seat onto the floor.
Another parent, surnamed Chung (鍾), said that Chen tried to promote what she called her “smart juice” by telling parents: “Don’t bother taking them to rehabilitation, just give them the juice.”
Responding to the accusations, the education bureau said in a statement that complaints received about Chen in the middle of last month were the first received in two years and that it had ordered the elementary school to immediately address the complaints.
The bureau said that it was not trying to protect the teacher and that it would strictly monitor what was happening at the school to ensure the rights of students were protected.
The school’s principal told the Central News Agency that when the teacher returned to work in 2020, some parents had complained, but school officials had reminded the teacher of the importance of solving the issues.
The principal said that the school would launch an investigation as soon as it received the necessary paperwork from the education bureau.
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